Listening & Understanding Your Symptoms

“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease”

-Voltaire-

This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart and in the upcoming weeks I am going to dive much deeper into this discussion but for now just a brief overview. As a society we have been somewhat told to overlook our symptoms. When we get hurt, feel ill or have things such as depression, we are often given things to mask these feelings. Your back hurts: here’s some pain medicine, your depressed and anxious: here’s an antidepressant, your digestion is off: there is definitely a pill for that. And while I do believe there is a time and place for conventional medicine, especially in mood disorders, I believe they are VASTLY overused.

According to the CDC, 48.9% of people have used at least one prescription drug in the last 30 days, and on average most Americans take about four prescription drugs per day. While many of these drugs are helping people live, many more of them are not. The possible adverse side effects are extensive for these types of drugs. Per year over 1 million people go to the hospital due to the adverse side effects of prescription drugs. Not only are they possibly dangerous, but also extremely expensive. New reports show that the U.S. prescription drug spending is looking to reach as high as $610 BILLION DOLLARS by 2021. If that doesn’t shock you, I don’t know what will. Those numbers are not just high they are catastrophic. Everything about this really alarms me and that is why I am urging you to really try to minimize the amount that you take, by doing something very simple: listening.

The most important thing I can say in this discussion is to begin focusing and listening to your symptoms and your body. I will go into more detail on this in the upcoming weeks, but listening to your body is crucial to optimal health and reducing the amount of medicine you take every day. We sit down for a minute with a doctor and are sent away with a sheet of multiple drugs we are supposed to take. By having only a minute discussion about what ails you we are no longer looking at the body as one complete entity anymore. Our bodies are not simply a collection of parts but rather one beautiful masterpiece all working together to help you live! Without one of your organs you would not function properly, and if one part of your body is out of whack, say your gut or knee, the rest of your body is not going to function to its optimal level. This is all part of the idea of functional medicine, which is something I live and die by. To me there is no other way to consider the way that our bodies run and thrive. If one piece of the puzzle is missing the rest of the body has to work extremely hard to adjust leaving pain or ailments because of our misalignments. Listening to our symptoms will truly help us to understand these connections. I work with people all of the time that will tell me things such as having chronic lower back pain and after adjusting their alignment in their lunge they tell me they cannot fully do one because of a skiing accident 20 years ago. Think these two things are connected? Without a doubt. I will continue going deeper into these topics, but in the mean time if you have something bothering you right now I strongly urge you to sit with your body and listen. Stomach pain? What did you eat? Headache? How much water have you drank? Again, what did you eat? Simply listening, accepting and understanding these feelings can help to greatly decrease your time spent in the doctor and taking more pills than necessary.

All of these ailments being discussed are vastly different I understand, but they all come down to one thing: your body is trying to tell you something. Whether or not it can be treated without prescription is varied based on the situation, but I think one thing is for sure, we should at least aid ourselves with proper nutrition and exercise as a compliment to these prescriptions. Listen to and trust your body and all of the messages it is trying to tell you. We must learn not to mask our problems with pills but instead listen and try to mend our bodies from the inside out. There are so many small changes we can do to promote overall health and wellbeing that will minimize or eliminate so many of these problems without even trying. As you can tell this is a topic I am extremely passionate about and I cannot wait to tell you more in the upcoming months! Stay tuned my friends!!

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